March 5, 2010

From "The Underground History of American Education"

John Taylor Gatto writes:
I’ve yet to meet a parent in public school who ever stopped to calculate the heavy, sometimes lifelong price their children pay for the privilege of being rude and ill-mannered at school. I haven’t met a public school parent yet who was properly suspicious of the state’s endless forgiveness of bad behavior for which the future will be merciless.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

38 comments:

headache said...

... bad behavior for which the future will be merciless.

Strange, I rather get the impression that bad behavior pays off, whether at work in social life or even church. For celebs and politicians, even managers it has long been a prerequisite. I've long been envious of those who have little shame and just take what they want without thinking about the consequences. Having a Christian upbringing with all its restraints can be such a drag.

Anonymous said...

Well, here's one now. If we don't insist on our children behaving in schools, respecting the rules and the seriousness of their task, then we're already doomed. It's further evidence of the ghettoization of America.

dana said...

how is it that everyone in the steve-o-sphere seems to eventually come upon and read the exact same things? i read this several years ago, i have no idea how i found it

l said...

To be fair to 'modern' educators, children these days might not get lashed for ill-behavior, but they are drugged and subjected to psychological manipulation.

agnostic said...

Same goes for private education, and at all levels. It's not a private vs. public thing, but a user-pays or third-party-pays thing.

In education, the users (students) never pay. It's either parents, taxpayers, the government, private aid orgs, etc., who pay.

People who pay for their personal trainers expect and accept some level of being pushed hard, being told "no excuses," etc. When they don't pay, as in gym class, they couldn't care less what happens if they obey or don't.

Anonymous said...

This is a little excessive.

Many parents send their kids to public schools without their kids becoming infected by the base manners common there and our society at large. Consider poor immigrants from E. Europe or China today, the Vietnamese immigrants in the 70s, or Jewish immigrants a century ago. I'm sure the kids of UC Berkeley grad students or profs attending Berkeley HS do fine despite the chaos around them.

Civility and respect, like religious beliefs, are things that start in the home.

Anonymous said...

SHHHHHH, don't take the advantage our wellmannered and pleasant homeschooled children have!

Larissa said...

I think the parents of well behaved children do have problems with some of the more unruly children not being disciplined strongly enough. I mostly try to mind my own business unless my son is directly involved and it's brought to my attention.

Chelsea said...

Thank you for this post. I am a huge fan of John Taylor Gatto's work, and a public school teacher.

Gatto's statement is very true in that the parents are very suspicious of intolerance of rudeness and disrespect. They don't want their children to be held accountable for their actions, and are frequently irate or unconcerned when their children misbehave.

Anonymous said...

" I haven’t met a public school parent yet who was properly suspicious of the state’s endless forgiveness of bad behavior for which the future will be merciless"


One could insert "single mother" into this sentence, especially in regards to their male children. The damage to these boys lives in monetary terms would be enormous.

Anonymous said...

One could insert "single mother" into this sentence, especially in regards to their male children. The damage to these boys lives in monetary terms would be enormous.

I don't think it's single mothering per se that is the problem; it's a complex of issues that created the fatherlessness by preventing the woman from selecting a mate in a nonretarded fashion to begin with. These are women who are deeply psychologically damaged in ways that make them unable to make and maintain healthy relationships with men, and also cause them to emasculate their small boys, paradoxically in ways that often lead to hypermasculine aggression later in life.

Cicero said...

Gatto's work brings up some interesting points I have never considered before, about how the elites have patterned education on Eastern (particularly Indian and Chinese) models. I went to school at the end of the 90's, and except in math (where I always had to hustle to get good grades) it was clear to me that I could learn more from reading random books in the library during break periods than the classes themselves.

Much of what was taught was watered down garbage. Only in mathmatics and the hard sciences was there any true education to be found, but for the many working class kids in my school it was unnecessary. These were kids who were going to take over their parent's small businesses or go into contruction, what did they care about Plato, let alone Harriet Tubman? Only the Indian, Jewish, and elite Irish/Italian students were focused on higher education, and they were a small minority.

College was slightly better, but that was because I had only a few crazy professors and was able to study topics that interested me much more freely. Didn't prepare me for the real world, but at least I was broadening my horizons. These last few years though... have been more educational than 17 years of formal education put together.

Life truly is the first and best school you attend. It would be almost impossible to shatter the educational bureaucracy at this point, but a better world it would be if we could.

Tom Regan said...

@headache: "Strange, I rather get the impression that bad behavior pays off."
Exactly. If only society was still structured in a way to punish bad behavior. But its just not.
These days, everything is a pathology. So if they're screw-ups in school, and then screw-ups in life, they can't be blamed. Its always someone or something else's fault. And the burgeoning state will be there endlessly to pick them up and wipe their nose.
Its the honest person who keeps their head down and does the right thing that cops it in the neck these days.

Whiskey said...

Headache -- Tom Brady explains sexual harassment. Women (and thus society, since women occupy the social approval space in Western Society) will forgive the Big Man ANYTHING. So long as he is the Big Man. A Big Man who falls out of that status will be destroyed for his fall alone. But a Charlie Sheen can do anything, and as long as he is the bad boy women fantasize about taming, he can get away with it.

Like everything else though there is a trade off. Some banger might pull lots of chicks, but he'll risk being shot or serious jail time. Guys like Fred Armisen in the video might not pull any chicks, but unless they make eye contact won't do serious prison time.

Anonymous said...

My family came from the Carribean and are the descendants of Indian laborers. Pretty much everyone is now working class or middle class, with a decent amount of academic and economic success within our st and second generation. A few failures are present in the Indo-C Carribean community, but I'd say that Indo-Carribeans in general can compete against white Americans.

I'd say the following factors are important in our success:

1.) Work hard
2.) Strong family system
3.) Willing to obey the family and society
4.) Save money

Patel Motel said...

OT: How strongly are comments being filtered here? I have posted a couple of what I consider non-inflammatory comments in the income vs religion thread below and neither have shown up days later.

It would be disappointing for me to learn that Steve Sailer is not publishing comments that go against the prevailing wisdom here, considering how unpopular his ideas are elsewhere. He should be pushing open dialogue.

Anonymous said...

A few days ago the NYT had an article about how Diane Ravitch has changed her mind about the high-standards-enforced-by-standardized-testing regime that she used to favor, as well as on charter schools.

Yeah, the other day I listened to her interview with John Miller, and came away with the impression that she doesn't know how to reconcile what she's seeing in the data with her most dearly-treasured emotions & beliefs about the purpose [and possibilities] of public education.

Essentially the interview amounted to rambling, incoherent gibberish - the chick is clearly struggling with all sorts of doubleplus-ungood-think, but she doesn't seem to have the strength of character to follow her observations through to their logical conclusions.

And some of what she had to say about mainstreaming [yanking the best students out of the charter schools and forcing them back into the lousy schools*] would be simply disastrous for the tiny handful of kids who have any hope of making it in the real world.

But, then again, that's the totalitarian mindset for ya'.



*BEGIN, 1:12 MARK: "Ah, but I think that there's another aspect to 'choice' that I think is very harmful to education and to our society and that is that, ah, many of these 'schools of choice' are skimming off the best kids in the poorest communities, leaving the remaining public schools worse off. Now if you happen to think that, ah, a public education system is a bad thing, ah, I guess that doesn't matter, ah, but from what I've seen in other countries**, uh, uh, you must - we must have a good functioning public school in every neighborhood, because you can't have a situation where, ah, kids have to apply to get to a - the school across the street, and then find that they didn't make the lottery, and then they have to get on a bus or, or a subway, or, ah, find some other means of finding a school that will accept them. That - that will lead to the destruction of public education. I think that's bad for our country." END, 2:03 MARK



**I wonder what "other countries" [and their public education systems] a woman named "Ravitch" might be familiar with?

Anonymous said...

These are women who are deeply psychologically damaged in ways that make them unable to make and maintain healthy relationships with men, and also cause them to emasculate their small boys, paradoxically in ways that often lead to hypermasculine aggression later in life.

I actually think that the explosion in single-parent mothering and the concomitant explosion in homosexuality [the choice to engage in homosexual behavior and homosexual lifestyles] are linked inextricably.

If there aren't any men around to teach the little boys how to grow up to become men, then the only role models the little boys have are the women in their lives, and so women are what they grow up to become as adults.


PS: In stable, two-parent families, allowing [and, God forbid, encouraging] a boy to play soccer, instead of football, is probably at least as insidious & deleterious to his character as being raised by a single mother.

John Seiler said...

Another reason for abolishing all government schools and truancy laws, and letting parents raise their kids as they see fit, as they did for millennia before Horace Mann and the others imposed Prussian-style regimentation on American kids.

See the late Ivan Ilich's "Deschooling Society." And anything by the great Gatto.

l said...

I'd say the following factors are important in our success:

1.) Work hard
2.) Strong family system
3.) Willing to obey the family and society
4.) Save money


OK, now how about some practical advice?

Tommy said...

Sometimes when we ask for discipline in the schools, what we get are mindless 'zero tolerance' policies that end up undermining respect for authority. "http://www.whas11.com/home/Mom-says-kids-being-punished-for-saying-no-to-drugs-policy-gone-too-far-85410047.html"

none of the above said...

A teacher may be too kind, scared, or indifferent to correct all kinds of disruptive behavior. But a boss or a judge or a landlord sure as hell won't.

This is a common pattern. There are short-term rewarding things you can do (skip school, ignore homework, be loud and disruptive in class, smoke, engage in various kinds of small-time crime, get pregnant at 15, etc.) that will make you enormously worse off later. By being too "understanding" to make this stuff painful now, we're screwing a lot of people over later in life.

Anonymous said...

Strange, I rather get the impression that bad behavior pays off, whether at work in social life or even church.

Gatto's main thesis is that children should be unschooled. Sailer, consciously or not, picked out the one quote that makes Gatto look like a Puritan.

David said...

> The damage to these boys lives in monetary terms would be enormous. <

Not in most single mom households. Unless he has a shot at the NFL or NBA and she breaks his leg or something.

Anonymous said...

Jared Taylor's remarkable THE COLOR OF CRIME is suggestive of what THE COLOR OF INCIVILITY might be like as a topic. Racial integration as a commendable goal in American education has been the victim of specific flaws of implementation. Middle School white kids are discovering in American urban settings how racially saturated incivility has become. Even in rural areas having few, or no, Black students, the overall state and federal policies, both de facto and de jure, that have arisen to accommodate US racial integration has reduced the permissible constraints schools can exercise against incivility. Lots of the objections to public schooling, clearly perceived, arise from Brown v. Board.

Cicatrizatic said...

I have a friend who works as a public school teacher here in Dallas. She says the only way the other public school teachers can get the students to stop misbehaving is by cussing at the students, although she clearly refrains from using this method herself. Apparently this is so because it parallels the way these minority parents enforce order in the home: screaming obscenities at their children.

I don't say this to excuse public school teachers or the government education system - just thought it was relevant.

headache said...

Whiskey sez:Tom Brady explains sexual harassment.
Yeah, that's the way it is.

B Lode said...

Gatto sounds like a sharp cookie.

If I may be a peacock for a moment, I have a post on a similar topic. I don't address the intergenerational aspect so much as the cross-gender aspect.

Anonymous said...

PS: In stable, two-parent families, allowing [and, God forbid, encouraging] a boy to play soccer, instead of football, is probably at least as insidious & deleterious to his character as being raised by a single mother.

Surely that statement is completely crazy?

You could have said Football is better than soccer because Football provides children with more discipline. At the highest level of each sport, this is arguable.

Instead you chose to say playing soccer is "at least as insidious & deleterious to his character as being raised by a single mother."

Are we going to be honored with an explanation why soccer isn't somewhere between the two?

Anonymous said...

"PS: In stable, two-parent families, allowing [and, God forbid, encouraging] a boy to play soccer, instead of football, is probably at least as insidious & deleterious to his character as being raised by a single mother."

This statement is downright stupid. In areas with a significant black population (i.e public schools in most of the South), it's almost impossible for white guys who aren't 260 pound offensive linemen or something to get any sort of playing time on the high school football team. Also, maybe white guys don't want to deal with the constant bad attitudes of the black players either. Furthermore, what about shorter or skinnier guys who would get crushed playing football? Are you suggesting they fore-go the valuable lessons they can learn from sports simply because they can't play football and are better suited for something like soccer?

Anonymous said...

This is a most Whiskeyan story.

Choice quote:

One victim said she needed counselling after learning of the sex tapes her former partner had made of them.

If that had been Charlie Sheen making the recording? No counselling then I suspect.

Anonymous said...

"PS: In stable, two-parent families, allowing [and, God forbid, encouraging] a boy to play soccer, instead of football, is probably at least as insidious & deleterious to his character as being raised by a single mother."

So thats a non-trivial proportion of the world's male population written off right there.

In global terms (American) football barely exists as a spectator or participatory sport. Whereas soccer...

Are you really suggesting that there is some unique property relating to football that nearly all other states/nations/ethnic groups/races simply fail to comprehend? American exceptionialism eh?!

Anonymous said...

So that the little boys won't grow up to be whining, effete, panty-waist HBDers, instead of Paleocons.

Anonymous said...

"... bad behavior for which the future will be merciless.

Strange, I rather get the impression that bad behavior pays off, whether at work in social life or even church. For celebs and politicians, even managers it has long been a prerequisite. I've long been envious of those who have little shame and just take what they want without thinking about the consequences. Having a Christian upbringing with all its restraints can be such a drag."

I agree. Look at George Bush. He was a drug addict and a womanizer and got to be President and then pass himself off to the stupid Americans as a "conservative" religious person. He makes me sick more than Clinton.

I wish I would have done all the things Bush did in college. But I was a "good kid" and that didn't get me far in life.

Lying is the best way to get ahead in society and always has been. I just can't lie. It certainly helps with women.

B Lode said...

Steve obviously meant "bad behavior for which the future will mercilessly punish other people."

We all have to live in a society populated (and governed) by Dubya/Jenna-style alcoholics, people who can't find the United States on a map, people who can't remember any "fact" unless it is an urban legend, and people who work in marketing for big pharma because they couldn't get into medical skill but still "want to help people".

For tolerating these moral and educational failures, we get the short-term benefits of:
not being called "judgemental"
not being called "prudes"
not having to discipline kids who don't study
not being asked if we are "carved out of soap".

What a deal!

Anonymous said...

Re - soccer v. football, it is interesting to Google the words "soccer and socialism." A number of interesting articles turn up including one entitled "Soccer as a metaphor for socialism: lots of effort and no reward." There are about 383,000 results for this particular combination.

I don't have much time for American football, either. My preference would be for shooting to be the American national sport, as it was back in the late nineteenth century when long-range matches at Creedmoor drew the kind of press that football and baseball do today. Shooting is a sport that rewards individual excellence, and requires intelligence, judgment, mechanical ability, and physical coordination. It is a far better embodiment of the virtues that independent citizens of a free country should cultivate than is any team sport played with a ball.

David Davenport said...

In global terms (American) football barely exists as a spectator or participatory sport. Whereas soccer...

Are you really suggesting that there is some unique property relating to football that nearly all other states/nations/ethnic groups/races simply fail to comprehend? American exceptionialism eh?!


Yes, soccer is an excellent game for women, girls, boys too small for football, and foreigners.

Anonymous said...

Steve, as a complement to Gatto you should look at Charlotte T. Iserbyt's "The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America".